Getting Caught For Incitement
by Deacon Blues
As Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post correctly noted today, it's a little hollow for Eric Cantor and other congressional GOP leaders to complain about alleged acts of violence against them and blame Democrats, when it was the GOP themselves and their media that created the heated environment that gives the tea party crazies license to be felons.
The atmosphere around the Capitol and the country is toxic. The extreme voices that have taken over the GOP must be overcome by Republican leaders willing to set aside short-term political interests (an energized base is mid-term elections gold, you know). Sadly, said leaders are in short supply, as too many of them seem content to sow the seeds of anger and mistrust with wink-and-nod rhetoric that serves to foment the violent impulses they say they condemn.
The truth is revealed in Cantor's behavior and a remark from John Boehner.
Cantor concluded by saying that issuing press releases and releasing threatening messages "can easily fan the flames" and lead to more threats. "Enough is enough, It has to stop," Cantor said.
After leveling serious accusations against Democratic leaders, Cantor left the press conference without taking any questions from reporters.
Cantor is pissed that the Democrats are calling out the GOP for their behavior, and for releasing the threatening messages to the public. But he isn't so pissed as to have the guts to back it up without running like a baby offstage.
As for Boehner, he readily admits that the GOP is mad because the Democrats have finally called him on his role in inciting the thugs.
In emphasizing that no GOP leader had condoned violence, Cantor may have been referencing the case of Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio), who complained to Boehner after the top GOP leader said in an interview with National Review that Driehaus would be "a dead man" if he voted for the health bill.
In his own press conference Thursday, Boehner complained, "No one saw this quote of mine in this publication until Mr. Driehaus and others made a public issue of it."Right, Mr. "Hell No You Can't!". The issue you're mad about is not the violence you yourself have incited, but rather the fact that the Democrats finally went public with it and pointed to your culpability.
Does the GOP leadership in both houses really want to go down this road? Do they want the center-left blogosphere to compile a list for the media of all incidents of incitement or incendiary langauge over the last year from GOP elected officials and the right wing media in pandering to the tea party crazies? Does Mr. Cantor really want Barney Frank and other Democrats to publicly identify which GOP representatives stood up and applauded when tea party crazies had to be physically removed from the House gallery for their behavior and illegal disruption of the health care debate last weekend?
Update: Irony of ironies, Karl Rove now joins the mirror-free chorus, by complaining about the Democrats' calling attention to the GOP role in inciting tea party craziness:
We are a country of 300 million people and of those 300 million are going to be some bigoted, sleazy, nasty, vicious people, and people in public life hear from them. But we encourage them by giving it this kind of attention.
Yes, Karl, you are right: your party incites and "encourages" "bigoted, sleazy, nasty, vicious people" by pandering to them and rooting them on. And now you're mad about being called out for it.